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How You Can Protect and Advance Energy Choice

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As part of Direct Energy, North America’s largest competitive retail energy supplier, Direct Energy Business is committed to protecting energy choice and advancing the interests of our customers across our service footprint and beyond. We do this primarily through our Government and Regulatory Affairs team, who works with local and national regulatory bodies to advocate for the competitive energy industry and for a regulatory environment that can benefit all energy consumers.

Our advocacy efforts are often augmented by our customers and brokers, who can speak from experience on the benefits of energy choice and put a personal touch on educating legislators in their region. If you’ve ever wanted to make a difference in shaping policy decisions, there’s no better time than now—and it’s easier than you think.

Recently, Direct Energy's Senior Manager of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Teresa Ringenbach, spoke on a panel at a conference presented by the Illinois branch of TEPA (The Energy Professionals Association)/ILEPA (Illinois Energy Professional Association). During the discussion she stressed the importance of educating legislators both on the benefits of energy choice and the unintended consequences of certain legislation.

 

Why is regulatory advocacy important?

Legislation that hinders energy choice can materialize when a few loud voices indicate that a problem exists. The details behind their concerns may be based on one individual’s personal views or limited data—and not on the actual experiences of a broad base of customers in the region. And there may be unintended consequences that aren’t being considered when the details are drafted. This is why it’s so important to have your voice heard by your legislators—whether it's by attesting to the benefits of energy choice in your region or illustrating how language within a bill would hurt or compromise energy choice, your business, your employees or your customers.  

"Legislators have a hard time voting for something that is going to harm someone, so it's important that they hear all of the impacts that proposed legislation will have on their constituents, including brokers, consultants and consumers," said Ringenbach, adding that “when constituents are delivering the message, it can be even more powerful.”

 

How has regulatory advocacy worked for our customers?

One recent example of how advocacy played an important role in protecting energy choice was Illinois Senate Bill 651. SB651 started out as legislation that could have ended the retail energy industry in Illinois. After much work by our Government and Regulatory Affairs team, along with other retail choice organizations, consumers and businesses in the state, legislators came to a compromise with retail energy participants, and the bill passed without closing the state to energy choice

In addition, Direct Energy Business recently took action in the following cases:


"(Our) job, when boiled down to its simplest purpose, is to make sure that our customers have a competitive energy market."

- Teresa Ringenbach, Direct Energy Senior Manager, Regulatory Affairs


Find out more about legislation in your region

Working with legislators across deregulated markets, the Direct Energy Government and Regulatory Affairs team has a pulse on legislation in your region—oftentimes before it takes root. Through our quarterly webinars, we share important details on regional legislation that stands to impact the energy industry. Our regulatory affairs experts also make themselves available to customers and brokers at regional events.

These offerings provide a fantastic opportunity to learn about legislative actions that may impact your business or that should be discussed in a meeting with your elected officials. Our teams can also help you better understand what's at stake and what key points you may want to communicate to policymakers in your discussions, based on how proposed legislation may impact your business, your employees or your clients.

If you would like to connect with one of our regulatory experts, please ask your Account Executive to arrange an introduction.

What you can do to advance energy choice

Ringenbach offered some suggestions on steps brokers and consumers alike can take to affect legislation in their regions:

  • Reach out to your state representative and senator and request meetings with them on a quarterly basis.  
  • Get to know legislators on a personal level by providing information about what your business does, how many people it employs and what regulatory issues could impact it, your employees and your customers.
  • Ask regularly about legislation that might be in the pipeline that could impact your business. You can do this while speaking with your elected officials or work with us to learn more during one of our regulatory webinars.
  • Aim to come away with your legislators' contact number so that you can reach out to them directly as issues arise that you’d like to discuss.

It’s important to keep in mind that legislation that stifles energy choice can often be a knee-jerk response to a few bad actors in the industry or data and analyses that indicate customers are paying higher prices. But, as there are two sides to every story, it's always important to educate legislators on the positive results of energy choice—and Direct Energy Business continues to do this in the markets we serve. We hope you will, too.

Learn about our recent advocacy in Virginia 

Posted: September 19, 2019

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